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I don’t mean in terms of needing a few more weeks or months of polishing and bug-fixing time, although that never hurts… I’m thinking more about what would have happened if the sequence of MMO launches had been changed and The Old Republic went live in DEcember 2012 instead of December 2011 (apart from producers getting fired for the massive cost over-run a 12 month delay would have incurred, of course).

SWTOR’s biggest selling point apart from the Star Wars IP is the character class story. However, this was something new and strange for some players, and it was clear that there were plenty who saw the story as something to click through and get on with levelling to the endgame… only to find the endgame somewhat disappointing. In the last year, though, we’ve had both The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 doing similar story elements, but not as well. SWTOR coming after them would have been seen as perfecting and polishing the story, rather than pioneering it, and might have earned more appreciation from the comparison.

I also think that SWTOR would have benefited from some other lessons from those two games, particularly with more action-oriented combat, which would fit the lightsaber-wielding classes especially well. However, the “WoW with lightsabers” basic design would have been too well embedded by that stage to rip everything out and re-do. SWTOR 2, however, would do well to consider being closer to “Guild Wars 2 with lightsabers” assuming we don’t get something even closer to the proper Star Wars ‘feel’ to copy from in the interim. On that subject, it’ll be interesting to see what the House of Mouse do as the new masters of LucasArts…

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2 Comments

  1. I take your point but I don’t think it would have helped it to launch now. The problem is deeper than story-telling: listening to a story isn’t playing a game. I think for most of us the constant switching from game playing to receptive listening mode felt jarring and unnatural. It just wasn’t fun on our terms.

    As for Disney I’m fairly sure they’ll do the films really well. With the MMO (and they will at some point replace SWTOR with a new SW mmo) they will be conservative. The way to trade off an IP is to sell it to the established market as what they like with a SW theme. SW WoW, or more likely SW Titan or even SW Project Gorgon if that’s the top MMO in 5 years time. Even SW Galaxies although highly innovative was in a lot of ways SW UO. IPs and innovation aren’t natural bedfellows – you distinguish your product by its being Star Wars, not by having an innovative banking and e-virtual commerce system or whatever.

  2. It’s certainly an interesting thought. I think SWTOR had many more issues though that kept the average MMO player from playing it. in itself the most brilliant story-telling isn’t going to keep you with a game. MMOs need to deliver in so many areas; maybe that’s also why the ones that only ‘do okay’ in all/most aspects, are more successful than those that do really well in some aspects but not at all in others? I can only refer to my own, limited experiences with SWTOR and to me it looked at least 6 years ‘too late’ and was as you said, WoW with the altered space odyssey theme and more formulaic combat. well written quests, audio dialogues and narrative choices are a big plus to me in MMOs, but they’re a ‘plus’.


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